House of Cards

I enjoy (non-preachy) political dramas, and House of Cards is a great adaptation of a 1989 book (which also adapted into a UK TV series) depicting Machiavellian intrigues and backstabbing.

Kevin Spacey is front and centre in this series, and while his accent threw me off occasionally, his portrayal of a ruthless yet nuanced politician is excellent. I liked him talking to the camera, and it’s funny that I was sympathetic to such a sociopath, and not to other characters who dabble in Bad Things but go nowhere near as deep.

The storyline was strong, especially the depiction of the back-and-forth of politics: vote trading, sounding out backers, threats and media performance. Early on Spacey alludes to a master plan then seems to take up all sorts of diversions, but they end up coming together in some jaw-dropping twists. The last couple of episodes operate post-plan and lead into a cliffhanger for the second season, which I felt a bit out of place. The wife had several contemplative scenes and some minor subplots, but they were sometimes hard to understand or relate to the main story; several characters also sleep around a lot and I didn’t really understand what was going on there.

I’m looking forward to the next season, and I hope things heat up some more.

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